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Consumers Going Online Before Going on the Road

Two-thirds of consumers are using the Internet to make travel arrangements, and those who do are very satisfied, according to the latest Consumer Internet Barometer. This quarterly measure of who’s doing what on the Internet is produced by TNS NFO and The Conference Board. That satisfaction is somewhat tempered by study data showing that consumers are using the Internet for researching more than actually booking their travel online. Concern about the security of credit card information is the primary reason for not making arrangements online, according to the report. 


Among those using the Internet to make travel arrangements, the level of satisfaction runs high, with 88 percent of consumers saying they are “extremely” or “somewhat” satisfied with using the Internet for all types of travel arrangements.
“Security concerns continue to prevent a significant proportion of consumers from purchasing products and services online,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “In order for companies to fully realize their market potential, they must address and communicate to consumers what Internet security measures they have in place. If they fail to get their message across, the gap between researchers and purchasers will continue.”
Consumers are most satisfied with their ability to book airfares online, with 43 percent extremely satisfied, while 39 percent expressed a similar degree of satisfaction with obtaining general destination information and 36 percent were pleased with their ability to make lodging arrangements. One-third were highly satisfied with their ability to rent a car online, while slightly more than 31 percent were as satisfied with their entertainment arrangements.
However, about twice as many consumers plan to use the Internet to research lodging rates/availability and airline rates/availability compared with those who plan to book online. Forty-five percent of men and 38 percent of women research lodging online, compared with 22 percent of men and 17 percent of women who plan to book lodging online. Similarly, 41 percent of men and 36 percent of women plan to research airline rates/availability, but only 24 percent of men and 20 percent of women intend to book air travel online.


Nearly 70 percent of men, compared to 65 percent of women, use the Internet for travel arrangements, and more men than women intend to research and book travel activities online over the next three months.
Driving directions are the most researched activity, with weather/temperature and lodging next in line. Airline tickets are the number one item booked online, with lodging a very close second. Approximately 57 percent of men intend to research driving directions online, compared with 52 percent of women. About 46 percent of men, compared to less than 41 percent of women, said they planned to research temperature/weather conditions. Lodging was third on the list, with 45 percent of men and nearly 38 percent of women planning to check rates and/or availability over the next three months.
Almost 24 percent of men and 20 percent of women plan to book airline tickets online over the next three months. Intentions to book lodging online follows a close second, with more than 22 percent of men and 17 percent of women planning to do so.


Travel search engines such as Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia and individual company/service websites are preferred methods for making travel arrangements. Again, men are somewhat more likely than women to use these sites for setting up their travel plans. However, concern about transmitting credit card information online is the number one reason given for not using the Internet to make travel arrangements. The degree of concern expressed by women over conducting financial transactions online is greater than that expressed by men. Nearly a third of all women will not make travel arrangements over the Internet because they don’t want to submit their credit card information, while only close to 28 percent of men share this concern.